Another couple of weeks have passed since my last update
(I can never seem to get these things done fast enough to call them "weekly" anymore)
and some changes have happened around the park.
Of course, these days, changes are happening every day!!!
This is probably because Disney is gearing up the resort for a busy Spring season, and trying to get as much
maintenance done to recover from an insanely busy past TWO YEARS with practically no break in
attendance peaks (by my experience, anyway).

So this time, I started over at Disney's California Adventure Park:

Obviously DCA has no respite from the plasticy "Year Of A Million Dreams" leaves.
Disney is plastering these leaves and swirls everywhere... from the driveway of the
parking structure and and tram loading areas to in front of the castle and all
around the Floral Mickey.

And yet still people have NO idea what this "Year of a Million Dreams" thing is.

I've got to tell you that I went to the parks recently with my mother, and on our way out
of the parks, I mentioned something about not winning any million dreams this time.

Her response?
"What is this million dreams thing, anyway?"

I've heard this muttered from confused guests on Main Street and in the main esplanade between the two parks
time and time again. Perhaps Disney should start pasting a simple explanation of what "Year of A Million Dreams"
is on the billboards of the tram loading area and on the billboard as you pass through security.

That having been said, I wanted to point out the characters on the leaf that I photographed above.
This is a long narrow picture... but I thought the silhouettes were nice.

I count 27 different characters.. can you name them all?

Expect to see those silhouettes around more and more often, as Disneyland Marketing continues to
try and figure out how to market this stinker of a promotion that was dumped on them with almost ZERO notice
by Jay Rasulo, President of Disney Theme parks worldwide.

okay, moving on.

Middle of the week at Disney's California Adventure is almost always a nice quiet laid back time.
Sort of like the old stereotype of Californians.


Soaking up the sun


I didn't have to wait more than 30 seconds to get this unobstructed shot of DCA's icon "Grizzly Peak"


I headed into the water play area near "It's A Bug's Life". There were a few kids playing in the water and the
misting machines. It was probably in the mid-70's this day, and getting wet was definitely an option, but there
just weren't that many children around to take advantage of it.

Wait another month, and this place will be crawling with the kiddies again.


The urn here used to be deeper. I remember my oldest swirling around with the water as it rushed around
the inside of the urn, with about 3 other kids. That was probably deemed too dangerous and since that
time, a grate has been placed here, which makes the depth about 3 inches, instead of 18.

I can't fault Disney for that, but it does take some of the fun out of the area.

Speaking of fun:


no fun here. Not allowed. Don't even THINK about it.
I see the lawyers have finally had their way and made Disney take the "Fun" out of "Flik's Fun Faire".

We wouldn't want the families to think that this was an enjoyable place to visit, now would we?
I mean, if someone was having fun, then someone could fall down and get hurt.
And if someone fell down and got hurt, then someone could sue...

Anyone ever read "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" children's books? Following absurd
actions to an absurd end... very funny for a children's book, but not so funny here.

Maybe accounting figured out they could save some money from not having the upkeep of those
extra pesky letters on the sign.

You know, all that dusting and washing and painting and stuff that they almost never do for items taller
than about 10 feet anyway (for example the jet coming out of "Taste Pilots Grill").

(removing tongue from cheek now)


Another fun, John Lasseter designed area.

I always suggest if you're bring little kids to this park, be sure you bring water shoes and a change of
clothes because they just LOVE to play in these water areas of the park. During the summer, it's a welcome
respite from the heat. Disney doesn't allow kids to be barefoot in these areas, so the water shoes are a
smart bring-along. The change of clothes are welcome from all the other guests so we don't have to sit in
your child's wet spot on the rest of the rides in the park.

Conveniently, there are restrooms, as well as a large family restroom right across the pathway from this
super soaking area.


Enough going on and on about  the lack of kiddies, and the water fun areas, but I figured if I showed the other
two, I might as well thow in this low-key third one.

Again, an excellent bug themed area by PIxar's John Lasseter. Notice how the garden hose that comes out of
the stand pipe actually wraps around the edge of the area? Very cute.

This is the mind that's gone to work over the upcoming "Nemo's Submarine Voyage", folks.


I like the colors


"Francis' Ladybug Boogie" is up from it's perpetual refurb.
I love the ride vehicles, and how the ride itself works, but it sure seems to be trouble prone.
It seems to break, or go "down for a refurb" every few months, if not weeks.


The oranges are coming to ripeness in the "Bountiful Valley Farm" area.


It's really not a very good time of year for roses yet. I know that going out and pruning them down again
is on MY list of things to do in the backyard.

I thought this was a pleasant shot, though. That's the "Golden Valley WInery" or
perhaps the "Wine Country Trattoria" in the background. I'm never sure which.


I'm also not sure if these are Impatiens or Vincas or what... but it was such a stunning field of blues and purples
that I just had to get down close and take a shot of it.


And then there was this wide angle shot of the Paradise Pier area I couldn't pass up.
That of course is the Paradise Pier Hotel in the background.


Here are a couple "down low" pictures of Paradise Peir.
I'd love to take these shots again at night.



I couldn't believe I saw Mickey in this outfit!


Perhaps they were doing a shoot for the Disney Cruise Lines West Coast?
I don't know, but I've NEVER seen Mickey in a Lieutenant's uniform before!

Pretty sharp there, sailor!

I mean, how could I pass up a desktop wallpaper of THIS?


This is one of my favorite rides to photograph in the park.
It's also one of my favorites to ride.

So which do YOU choose, the swinging or the stable?


The wide angle lens gave the Sun Wheel and interesting look.

Walking around the Lagoon of Paradise Pier, I finally got to see the "Cars" exhibit
that happens every day. I've always missed this, and I'm happy that I finally got to see
these fellers up close.


Here's Mater.
He's my best friend.


And of course, Lightning McQueen.

Notice the "Ka-chow" from the lightning bolt on the fender!

It was SO hard to get a picture of these two without kids in them!
What a draw for the kiddies! Most just wanted to go up and actually touch them, but others
wanted to get right down and look at the tires, or check out the rust on 'Mater.

Funny thing was, no one seemed to want to check out if there was a driver inside or not.
I guess Pixar did such a good job of making these characters come to life, it never really occured to anyone.


Lucky me.
I got to catch the "High School Musical Pep Rally" too!

My daughter loved the movie, and the little pep rally performance parade is okay.
The performers are supposed to be High school aged, and while the movie was pretty much able to
pull that off, the pep rally in the park (due to age limitations in hiring, I'm sure) feels a little creepy to me.
These are NOT High schools kids, and whoever is doing the hiring needs to find younger looking

While the music is high energy, the performers are clearly tired of saying the same lines over and over, and
in my opinion do their best to kill the energy by slurring the words and going through the motions by rote.

Most the dancers are still very good, and show enough energy to be convincing (although again, a little too
much on the college age side of things) and at least are trying to sell what they've been given. Luckily, most
of the soundtrack is canned anyway, so the actual low-lustre performance is kept to a minimum.


Heading over to the "real" Happiest Place On Earth, it was hard not to notice the construction wall around
the entrance gates right where the turnstile castmember office is.


The flowers for the newly planted Mickey floral are coming in nicely, and we see once again that the
railroad is down for a little refurbishment. The last time it was down was right before the 50th, so it's understandable
that there might be some work that needs to be done on the tracks and stations.


I've been wanting to show you the new lamposts with the
"million dreams" logo and new metal "swirlies".

Not quite as cool as the Gold Tinkerbell and pixie dust swirls that the
Main Street lanterns had for the 50th, but still pretty neat.

I'm still waiting for those golden Tinkerbells to show up on Disney auctions.


send in your disneyland silhouettes now to be included in big silhouette montages around the park.
Notice the different Disney character silhouettes circling the lamp, similar to the ones on the leaf over in DCA.

I also thought the Castle inside the lantern was a nice touch.
I need to check that out at night sometime and see how well that works.

The highlight of my visit came shortly after I took the picture above...
Off to my left was standing Ed Grier, president of the Disneyland Resort!

I waited my turn to introduce myself (he was clearly out of his office to meet castmembers) and while he
seemed genuinely surprised that someone from the public had recognized him, he seemed nice enough.


Quick! Somebody tackle that guy!
I was so shocked and flustered to meet the man, I didn't get a chance to ask to take his picture, or to take
one with me... but he ended up heading the same direction I was heading, and I got this shot at the partners
statue. Not a classic shot, I agree, but I didn't want to yell "HEY! ED!" and have him turn around for a
setup papparazzi shot either.

Maybe next time I'll get my head together in time to get a decent shot of him, and to speak more than a
rudimentary introduction of myself to him.


Moving on, parts of the castle are still under wraps.
I was at the park just yesterday, and while they've now taken down the left tarp, they've put new tarps
and scaffolding on the right side of the front of the castle!

The silhouettes from the "Million Dreams" are once again represented in part on the new banners in front of the castle.
I hope that you can name them all!








More "Million Dreams" swans are making their appearance in the castle moat.


If it wasn't for the tarp and swan, this would be a nice picture.


The hedges along the seating in front of the castle are beginning to bloom


At the rear of the castle, more gold is coming off, and the clock tower and facade of Princess Store
building is getting some upkeep, too.


The seating area on the left has lost it's golden lustre. The seating area to the right will be next, I'm sure.


Last Photo Update I included a nice shot of King Arthur's "Sword in the Stone".
I happened to catch the little ceremony this visit.
Merlin was kind enough NOT to turn me into a bird, or fish, or lovelorn squirrel...

Higitus Figitus Migitus Mum. Prestidigitorium!

Why am I feeling the sudden urge to start storing nuts for the winter?


And here's a rather spooky shot of the evil queen looking down on "Snow White's Scary Adventures" entrance.


Further into Fantasyland, I noticed the new tribute to Alice near the teacups.
As I was trying to get this shot just perfect, I heard a voice behind me:
What are taking a picture of, sir?"

It was Alice!


I asked to take her picture, and she was kind enough to say "yes".
Mad Hatter stepped in beside her and asked if I'd like his picture too...

Being the smart aleck that I am, I said "no" and snapped the picture. Thus the
classic facial expression of our dear friend the Mad Hatter!

I apologized to him right after taking the shot, and told him I was being a smart aleck, and to please forgive me.

Luckily, I think, I was too far away to hear what his reply was.


either that or someone couldn't find the restroom quick enough
It looks like they're still having water seepage problems over at the subs.
All the water's been drained now, moving on to the next step of construction, I'm told.


Not a bad wait time for the heavily promoted "Rockin" ride.

Speaking of which, I don't know if you've noticed, but Disney has dropped the mention of
the "Red Hot Chili Peppers" from their "Rockin" commercials and print advertisements.

The rumor is that Disney got the rights to use the songs in the rides, but didn't get permission to actually
use the "RHCP" names in their commercials.

I don't know if that's true, or if perhaps they discovered that too many folks think that the use of the
Chili Peppers music was going to be TOO rockin' for them and ended up staying AWAY from the park.

Anyway, here's a link to the newest commercial:

The last shot started a tongue-in-cheek rumor that the old castle walk through was
reopening soon and getting a loop.

I thought that was pretty funny.

WAY on over to New Orleans Square for a shot of the sign announcing the closure and upcoming re-opening of
Tom Sawyer's Island as "Pirate's Lair at Tom Sawyer's Island".

This of course to try and tie into the over-the-top popular "Pirates Of The Carribean" movie franchise.

Dontcha' think that's a bit of a stretch???
Hopes are that this will open in time for the big 3rd installment movie premiere (at Disneyland once again) at the end
of May, but most people (including some imagineers) are less than optimistic on the chances of that happening.


I'm wondering how long until McDonalds pulls out of the parks completely.


she's a figurehead all right.
The Columbia's figurehead at the bow.
The "Sailing Ship Columbia" is once again being refurbished, and can be found at "Fowlers Harbor" in
New Orleans Square.

Can anyone tell me where this figurehead came from or how it was chosen?
I know the Columbia is built from the plans of the H.M.S. Bounty, but this is not the figurehead that was on the Bounty,
nor is it figurehead from the Columbia Rediviva (the real name of Disneyland's sailing ship).

What's a trip to New Orleans Square without a quick, spook-filled visit to the Haunted Mansion?

It was at this time that I realized I left my tripod at home.


There's just no way I was going to drive to Corona and back, so I did the best I could.


looks like my 7th grade math teacher
This is the ghostly figure looking over your shoulder as you enter the seance room.

I'll visit HM again soon.
It seems to be one of the rides that folks just can't get enough pictures of.
I'll just leave you with that little taste for now.

Upstairs over the Disney Gallery, I took a couple shots of the models on display (and for sale) of Disneyland.

What lovely detail!.


And here, too!


I wish I had the room and the money for a scale version of the whole park!
I don't even have the room for this much of it!

It was starting to get late:

Why is it that motion just feels so RIGHT in tomorrowland?
The model of the Astro Orbitor made me hungry for some shots of the real thing, so I hung out there for a little while


But without a tripod, I knew my night time photography was pretty much over, so I decided to  head on home...

after one last shot:


I love shots of this ride at night. It makes it so fluid!

It's been such a great trip this time.
Meeting Ed Grier was a real highlight, and it's so
exciting to see all the changes their making for the upcoming spring rush.

I sure hope they get some pretty flowers into the landscaping soon!
I really need my flower fix!

Me? I have a sudden urge to go cut off all my hair and get a couple tatoos.
what are YOU doing this week?

Look for anther update in a week or so,  but until then:

God bless,
and as always:

Love uP!

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Camera Info

 I shot these photos using an
8 megapixel
Canon EOS 350D Digital Rebel XT
with a
Canon 580EX speedlight flash,
and whatever lenses I could get my hands on.

I also use a Moose warming/polarizing filter on many of my shots.

and yes dear, I stilluse both cameras!

not a paid product endorsement in any way, simply letting you know the equipment I have paid for
and use and really, really appreciate!


Here's a "Blast From The Past" desktop for ya'... from 2004 but re-done for this update.